XDM 3D Printing Technology, a 3D printing company based in Suzhou, China, claims to have developed the world’s largest selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printer. The XDM750 has a build volume of 750 x 750 x 500 mm, larger than Concept Laser’s X LINE 2000R.
It’s difficult to make conclusive statements about the world’s largest 3D printers. For one, you never know what private companies are doing in secret—just because a gigantic machine hasn’t been put on the market, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
But it’s also pretty hard to get objective reports about “record-breaking” machines from third parties. At present, there’s no Guinness World Records-type organization dedicated to 3D printing, so there’s nobody going round with a measuring tape and stopwatch verifying every claim by every company.
This isn’t such a problem with commercially available machines. In these cases, you simply have to check with the company’s customers to see if the machines are as big, fast, or efficient as they claim to be. (Or you can buy one yourself.) Besides, companies would get in a lot of trouble if their spec sheets didn’t match up to their products.
But with one-off 3D printers, brand-new printers, or machines not being sold at scale, you sometimes have to take a company’s word for it.
You might therefore take XDM 3D Printing Technology’s claim that it has developed the “world’s largest SLM 3D printer” with a pinch of salt.
That’s not because we think the company would put out a factually incorrect statement about printer dimensions. In that regard, the XDM750 is quite probably the world’s largest SLM printer. It’s just that we know so little about XDM 3D Printing Technology, we have no way of knowing whether the printer works at a high level.
Nonetheless, the XDM750 certainly sounds like a formidable machine in terms of size. With a build area of 750 x 750 x 500 mm, the SLM 3D printer can purportedly fabricate larger objects than would be possible with the Concept Laser X LINE 2000R, generally believed to be the largest laser melting machine on the market with a whopping 800 x 400 x 500 mm build area.
But eclipsing the X LINE 2000R in terms of size might not even be XDM’s boldest claim. Making a very large printer is one thing, but ensuring it meets the required quality standards is quite another. The Chinese 3D printer company claims to have done this too.
The Suzhou-based manufacturer says the performance of the XDM750 matches that of the most advanced metal 3D printers in the world, and could therefore be used in serious industries like aerospace, automotive, military, and medical.
It’s these claims that will take a little longer to evaluate. It’s possible that this could be the start of a serious wave of 3D printing evolution in the Far East; on the other hand, we might never hear about XDM again.
XDM was founded in 2015, and employs a number of technicians with long-term experience in SLM research. It already has 12 patents and three core technologies.